Two-term incumbent Monroe Township 5 trustee Jack Hatten faces opposition Nov. 8 from candidates Scott Hendren and Russell Sparks.

Two-term incumbent Monroe Township 5 trustee Jack Hatten faces opposition Nov. 8 from candidates Scott Hendren and Russell Sparks.

Township fiscal officer Debra Farley is running for another term unopposed.

Sparks, 39, is a graduate of Northridge High School and the Licking County Joint Vocational School, and earned an associate degree in business management from Central Ohio Technical College in Newark. He’s lived in the community for 19 years.

Sparks is a full-time paramedic at St. Ann’s Hospital and said his qualifications for trustee include his experience in the fire service, community volunteer leadership and being a parent in the community.

He said he is running for office because he’s been involved with the Monroe Township Fire Department since 1993 and has long served the people of the community.

“My family and I now feel that the time has come for me to seek elected office,” he said. “I look forward to bringing fresh ideas and positive solutions to the people of Monroe Township and the village of Johnstown.”

Sparks said it’s difficult to narrow down the township’s most pressing need. Some residents have brought to him concerns about junk cars, a lack of communication, how the current administration is spending money, and the condition of the roads.

“My greatest concern is lack of communication,” Sparks said.

“The best government is one that works for its people and is open to everyone,” he said, adding that Monroe Township needs a website where news, information, and township minutes can be posted. Sparks said this would alleviate the 25 cents per page that the township currently charges for copies of information, including meeting minutes, fee charts and fiscal documents.

“We are in the digital age, and if we are to survive and thrive in these challenging and uncertain economic times, changes need to be made in how Monroe Township communicates with its residents,” he said.

Sparks said he’s committed to fostering balanced development for Monroe Township, as its assets and proximity to Columbus are appealing to developers.

“Safeguards must be in place to balance development and growth, but at the same time not hinder opportunities for township residents,” he said. “Industry and development are important and should be carefully planned.”

Sparks said the township, village, and school districts should manage development together.

Hendren, 37, is also a graduate of Johnstown Monroe High School and has lived in the community his entire life. He is a brother of Troy Hendren, a current Monroe Township trustee who is not up for re-election this year.

Hendren worked for 13 years as a residential plumber for Jack L. Woods Plumbing and owns and operates his own small business, Scott Hendren Plumbing. His wife is employed by the school district and they are parents of a daughter.

He said he believes he’s qualified for trustee because he is young, energetic, and has the time to devote to the position.

“I communicate effectively and will listen attentively to the residents of Monroe Township,” he said. Hendren said he understands how to monitor administrative actions objectively for compliance with existing policy and law to ensure that those policies and practices serve the public well.

“Because I own my own business, I understand how the bid process works and how to be fiscally responsible for the best interest of the public,” he said. “I am a problem-solver, and because of my profession I have the mechanical aptitudes to help the township in many aspects.”

Hendren said he’s running for trustee because he has a vested interest in the community as a lifelong resident and owner of a business in the community.

“I know the township and the needs and issues it will face in the future, and would like to continue to move the township forward,” Hendren said.

Maintaining roads and exploring cost-effective ways to improve them is a pressing need in the township, as is continual support for the fire and emergency services, Hendren said.

“We should definitely attract industry and development to our township,” he said. “It would increase the tax revenue for the township and benefit our residents.”

Hendren said he would work with the surrounding township officials to optimize growth potential.

Hatten, 71, is a Johnstown- Monroe High School graduate who has lived in the community since 1947. He has 30 years of experience as a self-employed stucco and plaster contractor.

Hatten said his qualifications for office include two terms as Monroe Township trustee and the ability to manage administrative tasks.

“I’ve spent the taxpayers’ money wisely and kept the roads open,” he said.

Hatten said he’s seeking another term to continue the work he’s already done, and added that he enjoys serving the taxpayers every day.

“I want to see that everyone is treated equally,” he said.

The township’s most pressing need is that there are still dirt roads, Hatten said. He said before he ever leaves office, he’d like to see all of the township’s roads paved.

Hatten said he is in favor of attracting development to the township because it brings people more jobs. He said the township should offer tax abatements and other incentives to attract development, depending upon the developer’s needs.

Debra Farley could not be reached for comment.